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John’s Horror Corner: Silent House (2011)

September 6, 2012

MY CALL:  Cool, tone-driven, creepy jumper loaded with sensory-challenging style but ultimately rendered “just okay” by a half-assed, unthoughtful ending.  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEADParanormal Activity(1 or 2)or White Noise.

The Hof already wrote a “tank top horror” review on this flick.

A man (Adam Trese; 40 Days and 40 Nights), his brother (Eric Sheffer Stevens; Julie & Julia) and daughter Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen, little sister of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen; Red Lights) are fixing up a house on a chilly day to get it ready to sell.  The house is secluded, there’s no electricity, and it’s quiet, making it an ideal horror setting.  Some interesting things happen to set the mood rather early on.  The daughter encounters a girl who was, apparently, very good friends with her, although she remembers nothing of her.  Her father goes to some trouble to hide some “insurance photos” from her.  Her uncle seems a bit creepy the way he talks to her about how she looks.  And the shaky camera work draws our attention to mirrors on more than one occasion and, we all know, mirrors equal creepy.  Despite her lack of recollection, the house looks like it’s full of memories—perhaps they are memories best not reflected?

Sarah starts hearing things.  We get some classic “house movie” moments like creaky wooden sounds, objects moving in the absence of a breeze and doors slamming inexplicably.  Things get real when we briefly see human figures and she finds her father nearly dead in the house.  Quite panicked, Sarah tries to escape but is locked in and, perhaps, hunted by the mysterious man in the house.  While credibly horrified she is above the idiotic-panic moves that make us roll our eyes at horror victems.  She’s as smart as she can be while so scared.

Flashlight and lantern-based set lighting and general silence (other than footsteps, breathing, screaming and moving objects) make this movie very stimulating to the senses.  You stare at the screen to see what will come into the light and into focus like in Paranormal Activityor White Noise—all be this film less eloquently nuanced or subtle as either.  This is another slow creeper whose scenes hardly have distinct beginnings and ends.  Punctuated by sensory deprivation, Sarah spends so much of the film being continuously terrified that I find her both impressive and hilarious at the same time.  And, even though the scare tactics are a bit cheap (loud noises and such), I find this to be a fun jumper.×337/

The ending truly spoils the movie.  I had no idea how they’d make sense of all this—including a random scene with a little girl at the side of the road who disappears moments later—and they pretty much failed on all accounts.  While my most general predictions (not listed in this review) did, in fact, come true, I was in no way satisfied by the flagrantly displaced and hinted (though hardly justified) outcome.  I’m tempted to tell you to actually enjoy the movie for a little over an hour and then stop and eject the disc at about 1:05 to avoid the dissatisfaction of seeing this through.

The worst upon worst possible moment of this flick is when Sarah, who eventually escapes the house, goes BACK INTO THE F*$#ING HOUSE!!!!!  The simple fact that this happened should be reason enough for you NOT TO WATCH this.  That said, Elizabeth Olsen does a very nice job—unlike the story writers.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2014 10:08 pm

    Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your
    content. Please let me know. Thanks

    • johnleavengood permalink
      September 1, 2014 12:36 pm

      I see know harm in sharing our work with others. We want more readers. We have smarmy opinions to share and our wordy rants require an audience. LOL


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